Choc Macanana Smoothie


choc manana

Liquid Cleanse. Two words that on their own are completely acceptable, even pleasant, but put those hands together and you have yourself a world of hurt. And it is only day one! Well actually I am being a bit dramatic. In general I find cleanses liberating, detoxifying, lightening and (funnily enough) cleansing! But of course they can be difficult and need a fair chunk of determination to get through. It is more of a psychological challenge than physical; because you know you can’t eat anything the mind plays tricks on you and tells you that you’re hungrier than you are. (Which is exactly the reason diets don’t work).Either way… by 3:30pm of Day #1 I felt faint, nauseous and panicky. I really felt I needed something hearty to keep my energy levels up enough to play with my 5 month old and pack our entire life into boxes. Enter the Choc Macanana Smoothie.

Also – for fun – whisper Choc Macanana in a deep tribal voice; doesn’t that sound like some mystical island legend? Can’t you imagine being around a campfire on the beach and Choc Macanana appearing with a fern headdress? Look, in my solids deprived brain I found that hilarious and have now been giggling for about 5 minutes. C’mon Em, pull yourself together!!! Anyway…

Mount_Wannnahockaloogie

A Little Word About Maca…

I will go into a lengthier post about Maca Powder later on but I just wanted to say that this is the one Superfood that I have felt instant and dramatic effects from. Maca comes in powder form and is made from a turnip-esque root vegetable of South America. The list of health benefits of Maca is too huge to list but the most common praise I had heard was it’s ability to balance hormones, give your energy levels a boost (your libido as well!) as well as giving you the most amazing glowing skin.

I had held off until a few weeks ago as I had heard from some that it can negatively affect anxiety levels – and considering mine were just starting to normalise I didn’t want to risk another surge. But in the end the pros outweighed the cons and I gave it a go. Even on the first day I took it I felt noticeably better which I have never experienced with a product before. Now after two weeks of 1 teaspoon a day I feel like a different person. My husband has commented on how much more positive I am, more patient. I have had a lot of comments on my skin. And – surprisingly – my anxiety management has improved again. I have since learned that Maca is renowned for it’s depression-busting skills too.

The point of this spiel is to recommend that you invest in some Maca if you have any of the ailments I mentioned. I use this product from Loving Earth and they deliver all over Australia. But hopefully you can find it in most good healthfood stores.

Prep time – 5 minutes; Serves 1

Ingredients

1 x banana

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used my homemade Cashew Milk using this recipe)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon maca powder

1 teaspoon raw cacao powder

Pinch of cinnamon

2 x dates

Method

Throw all ingredients in the blender.

Blend until smooth.

If you want to get fancy sprinkle on some cacao nibs.

What is your can’t-live-without ingredient and why?

Would love to hear in the comments…

Fudgy Banana Brownie (Paleo, Vegan)

Paleo – Grain Free – Vegan 

Preparation Time – 15 minutes; Cooking time – 15 minutes; Fridge time – 1 hour

Everyone loves a brownie!

Everyone loves a brownie!

When I was pregnant everyone always used to warn me about any expectations associated with my post baby bod. They all said – “your body won’t just bounce back straight away”. I nodded politely but internally I was thinking… “Pfft – I haven’t gone mad with food during the pregnancy, I’ll snap back like an elastic band dammit”. Unfortunately majority won and I have been left with a little bit of a shock. I guess cultivating a human for 9 months does slightly affect you – who woulda thunk it! As such I have committed to giving the Paleo diet a go. This diet hinges on a high protein intake, lots of leafy greens, no processed foods and – the most important part – no grains whatsoever! One could be fooled into thinking this diet makes coffee and cake with friends impossible never fear – baked goods are actually surprisingly easy to Paleo-ise.

Almond Meal is a Paleo Bakers friend! Almond Meal is made from ground almonds and therefore is sometimes referred to as almond flour. It lends a moistness to any dish you use and is a high protein alternative to your standard nasty white flours. And the kicker… it partners especially well with chocolate! Zing zing zing! If you would like to make your own Almond Meal the Delighted Momma provides a fantastic tutorial here. (note: she specifies almonds without skin, but using ones with their skin on is completely fine!). Here is the recipe for my incredibly well-received Fudgy Banana Brownie. YUM.

Served with organic strawberries and an Alessi spoon = perfection!

Served with organic strawberries and an Alessi spoon = perfection!

Ingredients

*note – if you don’t like banana substitute the 2 mashed banana’s for 1 free range egg. This will obviously mean the brownie is no longer vegan though! 

Brownie Base

½ cup coconut oil (solid)
½ cup organic raw cocao powder (this is different to cocoa in that it is a superfood but you can substitute if need be)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup (can use honey or agave nectar)
2 mashed ripe bananas (I always keep a stash of frozen ripe bananas in the freezer… cut into chunks)
1 cup almond meal

Raw Ganache Icing

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

Brownie Base

  1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160° Celsius (325° Fahrenheit)
  2. Mix the coconut oil, cocao powder and cinnamon in a bowl and combine well.
  3. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup and almond meal and mix until combined.
  4. Mash in banana (if using frozen I microwave it until it is mostly defrosted. This works really well and means you will have amazing delicious banana chunks in your brownie!)
  5. Line a small brownie tin with baking paper. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface of the mix.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Insert a chopstick/skewer to check – the stick should come out with a bit of the mix on it. This means extra fudginess once it has cooled! Remove and allow to cool to room temperature (if you can resist digging in straight away!).

Raw Ganache Icing

  1. Remove 2 teaspoons of your coconut sugar and keep aside (this will dust the brownie!).
  2. Combine remaining coconut sugar with cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the cacao powder and coconut oil together until smooth .
  4. Add cinnamon coconut sugar mix and mix well.
  5. Pour on top of the brownie and refrigerate immediately.
  6. After 10 minutes remove from fridge and sprinkle on remaining coconut sugar. This will give a beautiful caramel fairy dust effect!
  7. Serve with strawberries!!!

Healthy Banana, Sultana and Walnut Cupcakes

Vegan

Preparation time – 15 minutes; Cooking time – 15 minutes

Makes 12

I love cupcakes. I could eat ’em for every meal, every day of the week if I had a better metabolism. But I am pregnant at the moment so I guess I get a temporary reprieve. But still – it is always good to be healthy where you can so I made up this recipe and packed it full of fruit and nuts which meant I wouldn’t have to feel quite so bad about cupcake time! (Cupcake time – in case you wish to join me – is Monday through to Sunday from 4am – 11:59pm).

The great thing about using fruit in your baking is that it acts as a binder which means you don’t need any eggs and they also sweeten the muffins so you don’t have to add extra sugar. And to be extra healthy and cute I carved out little red apple hearts for a garnish and took them to my mother-in-laws for Mothers Day. All in all – cupcake win!

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Wholemeal Flour
  • 2 tsp of bicarb soda/baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup of walnuts, chopped
  • 120ml of oil (use coconut if possible, otherwise any vegetable will do)
  • 4 x very ripe banana’s
  • 3 T crushed pineapple
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 Cup of raisins
  • 1 standard size tub of vegan cream cheese (Tofutti is available at supermarkets nowadays!)
  • 1 Cup icing sugar (give or take depending on taste)
  • 1 x red apple or some strawberries to garnish – OPTIONAL

Method

1.   Preheat your oven on 180Celsius / 360F

2.   Add wholemeal flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon, lemon zest of half a lemon (save the other half) and walnuts into your mixing bowl

3.   Place oil, pineapple, banana’s, maple syrup and juice of one lemon into a bowl. Mash until the banana’s don’t look like banana’s anymore!

4.   Pour your wet mix in with the flour mix. Put on medium speed until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

5.   Add the raisins and fold into the mixture. It will be quite a thick mix.

6.   Spoon these straight into your greased baking tin (You can use cupcake liners if you’d like but I really think they are a bit of a waste of paper!   Do you really need them?)

7.   Bake for about 15 minutes – checking with a skewer into the centre of one of your cupcakes.

8.   Once they look like beautiful golden mountains bring them out and allow them to cool.

9.   In a food processor add your vegan cream cheese, sugar and the lemon zest of the saved half of the lemon and mix until smooth. Taste test to see if you need more sugar or lemon.

10.   Spread the cream cheese frosting onto your cupcakes. If you want to be cute, you can cut out little lovehearts from red apples or strawberries and use them as a garnish.